Speaking as a gamer, even if EQNext had launched with the Storybricks AI (and I use the term “AI” loosely) included, it almost certainly wouldn’t have been as impressive as it sounded (see this demo), and it probably would have ended up being a non-factor in the game like that UO “artificial life” thingy. I’ve been very skeptical of SOE’s claims of “emergent behavior” ever since they first started talking about it.
Speaker as a software developer, my guess is that they jettisoned Storybricks because it wasn’t working right, and it was creating a roadblock for getting the game released. There is nothing more annoying than problems in third-party software that you have no control over. By removing that dependency, Daybreak can probably move forward with a lot more speed and confidence.
Speaking as an alarmist, it could be that Daybreak is imploding and we’re all doomed and we might as well just reformat our hard drives and forget about playing PC games ever again.
In any case, there is basically no chance that EQNext won’t get hammered as a bad game now, regardless of what they actually do. They’ve been pre-judged and anything short of the best game of our lives will be viewed as a failure by the gaming literati. (I know, I’ve pre-judged it too, but it’s because of actual evidence… i.e. Landmark.)